BIG NEWS – Roald Dahl biopic is in the works!

Variety has published an exclusive report that Hugh Bonneville (from Downton Abbey) is set to star as Roald Dahl in an untitled biopic about the author and his wife, Patricia Neal, from Goldcrest Films.

A bittersweet, comedic story focusing on Dahl’s marriage to actress Patricia Neal, the story moves between New York, England and Los Angeles in the early 1960s, a time when Dahl struggled to write some of his most famous works and Neal returned to acting with “Hud,” for which she won the best actress Oscar.

The early 60’s should mean that we see Dahl writing James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which should be fun.

What do you think about Bonneville’s casting? I’m a little disappointed. I’m sure he’s a good enough actor, but he really doesn’t look very much like Dahl. There’s no word yet on who will play Patricia Neal or the other famous people sure to crop up in the story. (I can’t help but imagine Sophie Dahl playing her own grandmother!)

Why 1990’s ‘The Witches’ is the Scariest Children’s Horror Film Ever Made

Why 1990’s ‘The Witches’ is the Scariest Children’s Horror Film Ever Made – Bloody Disgusting!

Great blog post about The Witches and what made it so scary to its young audience. The film has the distinction of being the last film that Jim Henson worked on before his death. Personally, I’d rank it up there with The Dark Crystal as one of the scariest films aimed at children. What do you think?

“I apologise to mugwumps everywhere.”

Roald Dahl is in the news as British foreign secretary Boris Johnson calls Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a “mutton-headed, old mugwump.” The press had a field day with it, trying to figure out what in the world he meant!

When questioned, Johnson said he thought the word was from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: “I think Willy Wonka says it either to the parents of Violet Beauregarde or Augustus Gloop.” Of course, true Dahl fans know that isn’t quite the case! The word actually appears in the book’s sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. And in The Twits, Dahl used a form of the word as the name of Muggle-wump the Monkey.

Hidden Treats in the Chocolate Factory

The official Dahl site has an interesting blog post about first-draft Charlie material that was later cut before publication. For example:

‘The Warming Candy Room’ [was] described as ‘like the engine room of a gigantic old-fashioned ship’, created red sweets that will ‘warm your entire body even on the coldest of days’

I also loved the idea of “enormous snow-white polar bears made out of white chocolate”!

There are photographs of Dahl’s original hand-written manuscripts as well. If you’re a Wonka fan, you should definitely check it out.

Storyteller: The Life of ROALD DAHL | Animated Book Summary

Many thanks to Dahl fan Adam Holownia, who sent us a link to a video he’d created. He said:

To commemorate “Roald Dahl Day” earlier this week celebrating 100 years since his birth, I’ve just created an animation on his life based on the authorised biography “Storyteller“.

‘Being cute just made me miserable’: Mara Wilson on growing up in Hollywood

Mara Wilson

She was the adorable little girl in Matilda and Mrs Doubtfire… then the phone stopped ringing. The former child star lifts the lid on hitting puberty in the public eye.

Where Am I Now?Excellent article from Mara Wilson (who was, of course, Matilda) on her experiences as a child actor who grew up: ‘Being cute just made me miserable’: Mara Wilson on growing up in Hollywood | Film | The Guardian. These days she mainly does voice acting, and you can also follow her on Twitter.

She also has a new book out called “Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.” I can’t wait to read it…


New and updated Dahl-related words in the OED

The folks at the Oxford English Dictionary have announced their latest quarterly update, and there are plenty of Dahl-related words in there!

  • frightsome
  • scrummy
  • scrumptious
  • splendiferous
  • gremlin
  • scrumdiddlyumptious
  • human bean
  • golden ticket
  • Oompa Loompa
  • witching hour

And don’t forget – the new Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary is available too!

More tributes to Gene Wilder; AMC to screen Wonka this weekend in US theaters

The tributes to Gene Wilder continue to appear. I particularly enjoyed these interviews with some of the Wonka kids: Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket) and Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt).

“It’s kind of like losing a parent,” said Ostrum. “You know it’s going to happen, but it’s still a shock. He was not in good health at the end and it was not unexpected by any means, but when it happens it hits you like, ‘Gene is gone and there will never be anyone like him again.’”

“He was a gentle man, but he was also a gentleman,” he added. “He treated people with respect and dignity.”

Letters of Note also featured a letter written by Gene Wilder to director Mel Stuart with feedback about Wonka’s costume:

“I don’t think of Willy as an eccentric who holds on to his 1912 Dandy’s Sunday suit and wears it in 1970, but rather as just an eccentric — where there’s no telling what he’ll do or where he ever found his get-up — except that it strangely fits him: Part of this world, part of another.”

For those of you lucky enough to be in the US, AMC Theaters are going to be showing Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Blazing Saddles back-to-back at 55 locations this weekend. More details are here!